…the same faces.
1001 Movies: “Fellini Satyricon” and “Suspiria”
Earlier this year I purchased the 2011 edition of Steven Jay Schneider’s gigantic film reference book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I decided that since I graduated with a degree in Cinema Studies and consider myself something of a film fan, I might as well get on with seeing some of the classics of cinema that I haven’t gotten around to yet.
I made a spreadsheet of all of the films on the list and have since been using that to monitor my progress. Filmsquish has every film that’s been on the list since the first edition in 2003 if you want to take a peek. For the interest of simplicity though, I just included the films in the 2011 edition and then updated it with the changes from the 2012 edition. Yes, I really am that OCD.
Anywho, I’ve seen 230 of the films on the list, two of which I watched just this past weekend. The first was Fellini Satyricon (or just Satyricon if you prefer), Federico Fellini’s 1969 sword-and-sandals epic with a whole bunch of male nudity instead of swords. The only other Fellini film I’ve seen is 8 1/2, and the same sense of unhinged chaos runs through Satyricon as well. I was actually surprised by how much overt homoeroticism was in the film, but then I remembered it was made in Europe in the late 60s and they could pretty much get away with anything over there. The film starts off with two men vying over the affections of a young slave boy, and all three walk around in loincloths for a good chunk of the running time. We basically follow them around on as they become involved in a bunch of other strange scenarios involving minotaurs and hermaphrodites. The film is available on Netflix Watch Instantly, so it’s easy to find if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
The other film was Dario Argento’s 1977 cult classic Suspiria (pictured above). First of all, let me say I usually try to do things the right way, meaning I still have a disc plan for Netflix so I can rent DVDs of films instead of illegally downloading them. But the DVD I received for Suspiria was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It looked like someone recorded the film off a VHS tape. There were those even white tracking marks at the bottom of the screen. It was just ridiculous. So if this is what I get for doing things the right way, well, I can see why so many pirates are out there. I’ll just say I ended up finding an alternative method of watching Suspiria, so form your own conclusions from there.
The first thing you notice right away about Suspiria is the soundtrack, which features a lot of unsettling vocal stylings and electronic noise, yet still is somewhat catchy. The music is by an Italian progressive rock band called Goblin, and they did a few of Argento’s film soundtracks. Suspiria is a film that has a lot more style than substance, but it’s so unique that it barely matters that there isn’t much to the plot. Argento uses color to great effect with lots of dramatic reds, blues and greens covering the screen, and his use of unusual angles and cuts (the sliding door mechanism at an airport is as menacing as a guillotine) only emphasizes the film’s over-the-top nature. One of the film’s most infamous scenes is the prolonged murder of a young woman who is stabbed so many times that a hole opens up in her chest and we see the killer stab her still beating heart. It’s nuts.
Chances are if you like horror you may have already seen Suspiria, but if you haven’t you should check it out. I’ve been working my way through other horror films on “the list,” so if anything else seems like it’s worth sharing, I may write up a post about it. I did the math and if I watch two film on the list a week, I’d have it complete within 15 years (not including the annual revisions of course). So yeah, my work is cut out for me.
Today in creepy movie soundtracks: Suspiria! This will be more relevant tomorrow…
I guess I have one of these don’t I? Well, while I think of some interesting things to stick on here, please enjoy this gif of old-timey Bender dancing on Futurama.
I guess one of the benefits to being unemployed is when your roommate messages you on Google Talk at 12:30 p.m. to tell you that The Bellhouse is hosting Louis C.K. tonight and selling $10 tickets right now then you can go into the torrential downpour outside and buy said tickets before they sell out. So despite from the lack of money, at least you can do cool stuff like that.
P.S. You can also marinate your roommate’s chicken when he forgets.